Sanitary Pads VAT Free not FREE

On 29th May 2019 #MyFirstPeriod was trending on twitter, which I personally participated in, this made me realise how fortunate some ladies were to have had the luxury of being able to purchase  the necessary material when they experienced their period for the first time.

The British Journal of Medicine & Medical Research conducted a study in 2014 which concluded that the average person uses up to 17,000 sanitary pads throughout their lives. Earlier this year the budget speech, financial Minister Tito Mboweni announced that sanitary pads will be exempted from Value Added Tax (VAT) from April 1st 2019.

Although this is a good thing, it does not shun the light away from the fact that, there are girls who still cannot afford to buy sanitary pads instead they stay away from school or use tissue as a substitute during this time of the month. These learners not only face the challenge of not having access to sanitary pads but it results in them missing out on school work too, in other words it affects their whole life.

Whereas one can walk into their local clinic or the bathroom on a tertiary education campus and get condoms for free, why can’t the same be done about sanitary pads? When one is a choice and the other isn’t.

Some community members have decided to take the matter into their own hands, by taking the initiative to purchase and distribute sanitary pads in communities where this problem seems to be a big issue. The real question here is, what is it going to take for the government to start giving free sanitary pads to the less fortunate?

By Rethabile Khunyeli

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